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New York Philharmonic Led By Kurt Masur Plays Brahms At Lincoln Center

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Nov 15, 2012 11:29 AM EST | O'Jay Burgess

Kurt Masur

Kurt Masur smiles in front self portrait (Photo : Reuters)

For three straight nights, conductor Kurt Masur will offer patrons at the Lincoln Center the work of Brahms when he takes up the baton to command the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall starting Thursday and running through Saturday. 

The master conductor will lead the well-established orchestra through Brahms "Symphony No. 3" and "Symphony No. 4." The German-born Maestro began his education in music when he studied piano, composition and conducting in Leipzig.

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At the start of his conducting career, the German found himself heading up the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, a position he held for three years. His conducting in Germany saw the veteran lead the Komische Oper of East Berlin and in 1970 he became the Kapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig a position he relinquished in 1996.

Masur's exploits in his native land soon saw him fielding offers from orchestras abroad and in 1991, Masur replaced current Israel Philharmonic Orchestra conductor, Zubin Mehta, as music director of the New York Philharmonic. Masur's tenure was tumultuous due to a reported rift with NYP board member Deborah Borda. Ultimately, Masur left the post in 2002.

In 2000, Masur was named the principal conductor of the London Philharmonic, a post he held for seven years. During that time, the German also served as the music director for the Orchestre National de France, a role he served from 2002 to 2008.

In the midst of all his musical accomplishments, Masur has also been a political figure. The German received the National Prize of East Germany when he intervened in anti-government demonstrations in Leipzig in communist East Germany. He negotiated an end to a confrontation that could have resulted in security forces attacking the protesters.

The conductor has amassed numerous awards over the years, with the most recent coming in 2010, when he received the Leo Baeck Medal for his humanitarian work promoting tolerance and social justice.

"He's a living legend among conductors. From Leipzig's Gewandhausorchester to the New York Philharmonic and Orchestre National de France, Kurt Masur has shaped musical life around the world," Marita Berg of Deutsche Welle.

Beethoven Symphony No. 5- Kurt Masur & New York Philharmonic

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